Fall is upon us, and that means it is almost time for the spookiest holiday of the year. Halloween happens only once a year, giving little ghouls and goblins plenty of time to plan the spookiest costume possible. In addition to the many fall and Halloween festivities planned this time of year, kids get ready to head out for a night of trick-or-treating. Keeping kids safe while they are out collecting as many goodies as their plastic pumpkins can carry should be every adult’s number one priority on October 31.
A Halloween costume can pose a threat to a child’s safety while trick-or-treating. Masks can block the child’s line of sight and hard toy weapons can still jab or cut the skin if fallen on. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while selecting a costume this Halloween:
- Because some children can react to certain chemicals, it is important to test the make up in a small area a few days before going trick or treating to ensure there is no allergic reaction.
- Weapons, such as swords and knives, should be soft, flexible and short. This will prevent the child from hurting themselves or someone else with the toy weapon.
- Attach reflective tape to costumes to help drivers see the little goblins at night. Reflective tape should be placed on both the front and back side of the costume. It is also a good idea to place reflective tape on the candy bag.
- To avoid blocking a child’s vision, the mask should properly fit. Avoid masks with small eye holes or those that can block a child’s peripheral vision. If the child’s vision gets blocked, they may not see where they are going and could get injured from falling or walk in front of a car.
- The costume should properly fit to help avoid any trips and falls. Proper shoes that are easy to walk in should also be worn.
- Choose a flame-resistant costume and stay away from lit candles and luminaries. Check the label to ensure it is flame resistant. A well-fitted costume will also reduce the chances of it catching fire from a jack-o’-lantern sitting on a porch.
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Trick or Treating
Never allow a child to go trick or treating alone. Have kids walk in large groups and always have a trusted adult tag along to supervise. Also, it is a good idea to have at least one, if not more, flashlights to help kids see when walking from house to house.
While out trick or treating, it is important to have the kids walk. They should never run. Remind children to look both ways when crossing the street and instruct them to always use the sidewalk and crosswalks. If there is no sidewalk, trick or treaters should walk as close to the far edge of the road as possible, facing the flow of traffic.
Trick or treaters should never stop at dark houses, only select homes that are well lit and those you are familiar with. Never allow the child to enter the home, unless the parent goes with and you personally know the homeowner. Make sure the kids never speak to or accept rides from strangers while out trick or treating.
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Talk to your child before going trick or treating and instruct him or her to not eat any of the candy before returning home. To help limit the urge to snack on the candy, give your child a snack before heading out.
Take a look at all of the treats to ensure they have not been tampered with. Signs of tampering include pin holes, rips, cuts, loose wrapping and re-wrapped candy. Also, remove any candy that will not pose a chocking hazard for smaller children, such as gum and jawbreakers. Avoid giving children any homemade treats that have been made by strangers.
Knowing the above listed safety tips will help ensure you and your little ones have the safest Halloween possible. With a little safety preparation, everything from planning the costume to enjoying the treats at home will be a fun, exciting and safe adventure.
Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.